Brisbane's bar scene gets a boost

Brothers Alex (left) and Demetri Conias at Embassy Craft Beer Bar.
Brothers Alex (left) and Demetri Conias at Embassy Craft Beer Bar. Photo: Natascha Mirosch

Brisbane’s bar scene has never looked as lively, with a rash of openings to come. Even old timers such as the Embassy Hotel are getting in on the act. Closed since January, the hotel will re-open in mid-March as a craft beer bar. The 100-year-old venue has had a much needed freshen-up, says owner Demetri Conias.

“It felt more like a nightclub before but we’re aiming for more of a corporate market. We’ve torn everything out and changed it completely.’’

His team has gone for a more organic look with wood and cladding one wall in concrete and metal. The ground floor bar will seat 240 and offer about 16 craft beers on tap that will rotate with another 100 or more in the fridge, Conias says.

‘‘We’re still considering our choices at the moment but we’re looking at putting in a hand pump too. Around half the beers will be more mainstream craft beers and boutique ciders. The rest of the taps will be devoted to wild and wacky stuff.’’

Conias says the venue will offer some tweaked ‘‘American-style’’ bar food.

In the kitchen is Rob Campbell, the original chef at Malt Bistro in the central business district.

Meanwhile, in Southbank, Ole in Little Stanley Street is ripe to give birth, with the Sangria Bar due to open in May.

It will be an Arkhefield-designed fit-out with a simple tapas menu and a drinks’ list consisting of versions of Sangria, as well as Spanish sherries, wine, Estrella on tap and other Spanish beers.

Sangria and sherry lovers are welcome to order from the Ole menu too.


Then there’s The Cobbler in West End’s Browning Street, set to open next month.

The New York loft-style bar will focus on tequila and whisky with 150 from around the world. Unusually, this place will let you bring your own food.

And Elixir Rooftop Bar in Fortitude Valley’s Ann Street. The opening date is still a mystery but the bar is under construction and will be spread over two levels with lots of greenery. It will have a classic cocktail menu as well as craft beer and a range of  ‘‘the world’s finest champagnes’’, according to owners Contal, a travel, technology and IT group.

CORRECTION: This name of Embassy's chef has been changed from Ben Campbell to Rob Campbell. The concrete and metal was incorrectly listed as being 400 years old. It is the timber that is 400 years old.

Rob Campbell